• Max Selby Athlete Ambassador

    triathlon race athlete

    Max is a triathlete whose ultimate goal is to compete at the Ironman World Championships as a pro. He talks to Sundried about training and racing. 

    Have you always been into sport?

    I have always enjoyed being outside and getting active. I swum competitively since I was 8 before finally stopping at 13 after losing the love for the sport. During that time I competed at county and regional level for both breast stroke and front crawl. Whilst I was swimming I also ran for my prep school cross country team, despite never running outside of this. As a team we managed to win the national title three times in a row (we had some very quick runners!!!) and I even managed to get a podium at our home event one year. I then took a couple of years off any competitive sport and started playing a lot of video games before starting triathlon

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    As a family, we were doing a cycling holiday in Italy, cycling around 30km a day on bikes that weighed no less than 23kg (we measured them since we thought they were so heavy!) They had a lovely pool at the hotel we were staying at and I was swimming and cycling almost everyday. Since I had a lovely pool to use and a bike as well, I decided I would do a couple of runs whilst I was there as well. Before, I knew it I had signed up for my first triathlon at Hever Castle.

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    Having only been doing triathlon for a couple of years, I am surprised at how many incredible races I have done. My first triathlon will always be memorable, swimming in a bitterly cold lake followed by a very muddy mountain bike course and run. Although I would have to say my favourite race so far is probably Hever Castle in 2020. Having had a season disrupted by the Covid 19 pandemic that has become synonymous with the year, I managed to claim a 2nd place despite having fractured my toe before the start of the swim. I managed to record the fastest bike split of the day as well as the 2nd fastest swim split. Furthermore, you cant get a better backdrop than the Hever Castle Loggia to start your swim from!!

    What is your proudest achievement?

    I would say my proudest achievement probably goes hand in hand with my favourite race. Having fractured my toe before the start of the swim and still gain a second place was one of my proudest moments. Being able to put that to the back of mind and still execute a near perfect race (except for forgetting my race belt in T1) is one of my fondest memories.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    Where do we start? Well first of all, tripping up on a step before the start of the swim and fracturing your toe isn’t a great start. Then at Castle Howard in 2019, I recorded the fastest swim and run splits and the second fastest bike split by just 6 seconds and still lost by nearly a 30 seconds. What can be said for my transitions at that race is nothing short of dreadful.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    One of the best pieces of advise I have ever been given is that you need to look at the bigger picture. If your aim is completing your first ever triathlon you have to remember that one bad session shouldn’t be changing your aim. One of my favourite quotes from Denzel Washington is this: “If you had $86,400 and someone stole $60, would you throw away $86,340 for revenge? Or move on and live? Each of us have 86,400 seconds every day. Don't let someone's negative 60 seconds ruin the remaining 86,340.” I think this quote can link directly to triathlon. If you have one bad session, or one bad week, or even one bad year if you get injured, don’t let that ruin your focus or ruin your dreams.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Trust the process. You can’t expect to see gains after each and every session. And if you do expect to see gains after each session and push each session as hard as you can possibly go to see those gains then that is a recipe for disaster. This is one of the key things that me and my coach have been working on over the past year and a half is learning that not every session is designed to push you to the absolute limit.

    What are your goals?

    Ultimately my goals are to win the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii as a pro. However, this is the long term plan. In the next year my aim is to race the National Junior Series and maybe even gain a podium at a national event which would allow me to go to the Europeans a year earlier. The following year I would like to go to the Junior Europeans and maybe even have a shot at the 70.3 worlds in New Zealand as an age grouper.

    Who inspires you?

    Tim Don. Hands down one of the most inspirational stories I have ever heard about. Getting hit by a car, breaking your neck when you were in the form of your life and still be able to pull yourself together to compete at the Ironman Worlds as a pro the following year. Simply unbelievable.

    Why work with Sundried?

    Sundried have been a brand which I have only come to relatively recently, however, after buying one of their cycling jerseys to replace one of double the price, I was shocked by the quality for such value. I can only hope that by me working with them more people might be able to experience their amazing work.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Sean Keeley Athlete Ambassador

    running triathlon racing

    Sean is a triathlete who has his sights set on the GB Age Group team. He talks to Sundried about training and motivation.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes! My main sport used to be football but multi sport has now taken over that passion.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    A colleague mentioned that they were going to possibly do one which prompted me to look into it. I haven’t looked back since!

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    Due to COVID I have only managed to do one, which was the Birmingham Triathlon. Fingers crossed 2021 we can race more...

    What is your proudest achievement?

    Becoming a father to 3 children.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    Not to date but I’m sure I will have some in the future.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I try to use a setback as fuel...I make it fire me up to come back stronger!

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Forget about your time..just go out and enjoy it.

    What are your goals?

    My main goal is to make the GB age group team for my age category.

    Who inspires you?

    Everyone who is striving to be better than they were yesterday no matter their situation.

    Why work with Sundried?

    I love the outlook the brand has and the fact it is passionate about the environment. Something I think should be at the top of everyone’s agenda.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Stefano Colombo Athlete Ambassador

    running triathlon fitness

    Stefano is a young Italian athlete with his sights set on an Ironman triathlon. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I have practised sports since I was little. I started with swimming and I started competing at 6 years old. For a while I played football but realized it wasn't for me so I tried mountain biking. In addition to triathlon, I like skiing and free diving.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    I started doing triathlon 3 years ago after breaking my left elbow in a fall while doing BMX. I was looking for a challenge that could match my passions, especially swimming and cycling, so I said to myself: "why not triathlon? " and here we are on the road to Ironman.

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    My favourite race is the Olympic triathlon of Endine in Italy as all three disciplines take place in a breathtaking landscape. You swim in very clean waters, the bike route consists of two very beautiful and challenging climbs and to conclude the race is a multiple tour around the lake with many fans. An incredible race.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    Every time I cross the finish line of a race it is an indescribable feeling, but the result I am most proud of is achieving first place in my age group at the Milano super sprint triathlon and thirteenth place overall.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    During my first Olympic triathlon, the international triathlon of Bardolino, I broke my water bottle after only 5km of the bike leg and I had to do the whole leg without liquids except for a beer thrown by the fans along the way.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Don’t make failure an option and keep pushing!

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Advice that I would give myself is to pay more attention to nutrition, as in triathlons proper nutrition can be a determining factor as well as a source of competitive advantage.

    What are your goals?

    In 2021 I will take part in the Ironman full distance on the island of Elba, probably as the youngest athlete in the competition. I think crossing the finish line of an IM at the age of 21 will be immense!

    Who inspires you?

    I believe that Alex Zanardi is the person who can teach us the most on a sporting level but not only that, he is a symbol of perseverance and tenacity that everyone, not just sportsmen and enthusiasts, should take as an example.

    “I want to do something with this life of mine. I want to take my life as a great opportunity that I can’t waste.” - Alex Zanardi

    Why work with Sundried?

    Sundried is a young, dynamic and above all environmentally conscious company with their Ecotech fabric made entirely of recycled material. The environmental issue is very important in the world we live in, so I am very proud to be able to represent the company.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Federico Ghelli Athlete Ambassador

    Ironman Italy triathlon athlete

    Federico is an Italian athlete who has achieved some amazing feats. He talks to Sundried about his journey.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I can't remember a year of my life so far without sports. I started swimming when I was 2 years old, but after a few years I realized that football was my biggest passion. I played it for 15 years with the hope of becoming a pro. Obviously, it didn't happen but I'm happy with what I achieved on the pitch.

    I also played tennis, did boxing for a year and ran cross country and track and field while in college.

    Two years ago, I decided to get into triathlon and now I'm fully invested in it.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    When I moved to Milan for work in 2018, I decided that I had to find some type of challenge to keep myself active while having a full-time job. So, I decided to register for an Ironman, without any prior experience in triathlon. Then, I joined a local triathlon club, researched for a few training plans, and started training, mostly by myself. In September of 2019, I took part in my first triathlon race ever, Ironman Cervia, which I completed in little over 10 hours.

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    Definitely my first Ironman. Seeing my family and friends cheering for me all day long and celebrating with them at the finish line gifted me a feeling that I will never forget.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    When I became the youngest Italian in history to hike the entire Appalachian Trail; 3,525km from Georgia to Maine, in the United States.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    Fortunately not in a race, but two months before my first Ironman I was hit by a truck while riding my bike. I hurt my hand in the accident, but luckily enough I was able to recover in time for the race.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Constantly reminding myself that life is not perfect and bad things can happen along the way. The most important fact is to not let those setbacks get the best of us, but instead keep focus on the main goal and keep pushing hard to achieve it, no matter what.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    That triathlon gets addicting!

    What are your goals?

    Qualify for the Ironman World Championship in Kona.

    Who inspires you?

    Not one person in particular, but whenever I see someone reaching a result that moments before was thought to be unreachable. It reminds me that limits exist only if we impose them to ourselves.

    Why work with Sundried?

    I appreciate the way Sundried promotes well-being, as well as promotes initiatives that actively support social causes. It's not just about the quality of the products, which are organic and sustainable, but also the impact Sundried is trying to make in the market and for the environment.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Chris Murphy Athlete Ambassador

    triathlete running athlete

    Chris is a triathlete who has been on some fantastic adventures. He talks to Sundried about his journey.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes, pretty much, although most of my youth was spent on the football field. I returned to cycling and running later in life when I finally hung up my football boots. The cycling especially has given me many adventures including cycling from London to Paris three times for charity. I have only recently discovered triathlon and I am absolutely loving it.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    My wife and kids have been part of a triathlon club for a few years, whilst I was in a cycling club. After resisting for a while, I slowly got sucked in! At first, I was only taking part in the run and bike sessions as I was virtually a non-swimmer. Eventually I drummed up the courage to attend the coached swim session in the development lane. Initially I really struggled as I couldn’t swim two consecutive lengths without stopping. At that point I thought I would never be able to complete a triathlon over any distance. For someone who was naturally fit and good at most sports, I found it difficult both physically and mentally to cope with the fact that I was a terrible swimmer. Despite this I stuck at it making sure that I swam at least twice a week and I gradually started linking lengths. Eventually I was able to get to the point where I could swim 400 meters without stopping. That was when I finally thought, “Yes…. I can do this!”

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    As I’m pretty new to the sport I don’t have too many races to choose from, but I really enjoyed my first triathlon that had an open water swim. That took place at Alderford near Whitchurch in September 2020 and was one of the few that escaped the covid ravaged season. I surprised myself with a much quicker swim time than I anticipated and loved the bike and run. I also very much appreciated the effort that the organisers had made to ensure the race went ahead. You take so much for granted at these events and it’s only when the opportunity to race is taken away that you realise what you are missing.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    This has to be my first triathlon as I never thought I would ever be able to complete one. It was a pool sprint triathlon, and I was really slow out of the water, but I didn’t care. I had conquered my biggest fear and grinned my way around the bike and run! I'm also immensely proud of the London Paris charity bikes rides. I rode with a group of friends and colleagues that helped raise over £30,000 for Bloodwise and the battle against blood cancers. I met some truly inspirational people along the way.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    Not as yet but hoping I can avoid as many as these as possible as my triathlon career progresses. I have had a few on the bike though, including taking a wrong turn in a sportive and descending at speed straight into a ford on a river!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Injuries are part and parcel of any sport and overcoming them is never easy. It is important to focus on the long-term goal instead of getting down about the here and now. I’m not sure if being positive means you heal quicker, but negativity definitely doesn’t help and the journey back to full fitness is much more enjoyable if you have a strong positive attitude.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    To start out earlier! As a 50+ triathlete I’m fully aware that I’ve definitely peaked in terms of physical fitness. However, I am living proof that you are never too old to learn a new skill or start a new chapter. If you are willing to step out of your comfort zone the rewards are fantastic, and you never know what you are capable of until you give it a go.

    What are your goals?

    Well, 2020 was supposed to a year of progression before covid intervened. Instead, 2021 is already looking like being a packed 12 months. I have six triathlons booked throughout the spring and summer with the last three at Olympic distance. My season will culminate in September in Italy with Ironman 70.3 Emilia Romagna where my wife and I will both be competing. I am also aiming to complete my first marathon in May.

    Who inspires you?

    I am always inspired by older athletes who are still giving it a go despite getting on in years. At the last triathlon I entered there was a guy sorting his kit out in transition next to me and he was well into his 70’s and still competing. Also, my wife Claire is an Ironman and the reason that I got into triathlon in the first place. The effort and dedication that is required for anyone to commit to that distance just blows me away.

    Why work with Sundried?

    I am fully behind the whole sustainable sportswear ideology and wish more companies had Sundried’s ethics and commitment to produce clothes from 100% recycled materials. Plastic pollution is a world problem, and we should all be aware of the legacy that we leave behind for future generations. The fact that Sundried products look and feel fantastic is a huge bonus.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren